How To Squeeze Freedom From Upheaval And Disruption

3 Nov 2016

How To Squeeze Freedom From Upheaval And Disruption

Upheaval and Disruption

I looked at the mounds of stuff piled high and covering every square centimetre of the garage, the kitchen and every other room in the house.  A heavy heart and feelings of overwhelm engulfed me. “How on earth am I going to fit all this into the house?”

upheaval and disruption

“How am I going to ever get the car into the garage?” A friend who came to see my new ‘pad’ laughed raucously at the view. She was convinced I was delusional to believe I could find a home for everything – and said as much.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…

Two months ago I was given six weeks notice to shift out of my home. The owners, who I thought wouldn’t need their home until I’d finally built something on my section here in Raglan, had secured jobs unexpectedly. So naturally they wanted their home back. With only eighteen months since the last upheaval of my home and business, the memory of the shift in the blistering heat of summer was still etched into my memory.

Shifting house is stressful

Shifting a house and a business at the same time is ridiculously stressful; particularly if your business also requires lots of gear (Viz: training equipment, chairs, manuals, books, easels etc).

After the initial shock of the notice, I wondered if I should sell my section and try and buy something here in Raglan. My logic was that, at least I would move on my own terms in future. However, trying to sell a piece of land, buy something else that I loved and be in a new place in 6 weeks with my dog and parrot, seemed – when I was quiet enough to be objective about it – a rather rash idea, motivated by sheer panic!

So I decided to look for somewhere else to rent

I’d done a bit of a declutter prior to my previous shift. I was determined to complete a really thorough declutter before moving again. First step was to figure out how to do this properly. A visit to the library was rewarded with the find of a book I was going to buy (until I realised that this would further add to the clutter!) It was Japanese author Marie Kondo’s book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up : The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.’ It seemed like a big title for a small book.

And Life-Changing? Really?

Marie Kondo formalised the ‘Konmari’ method of decluttering and has thousands of followers who swear by her method – and a three month waiting list of people wanting to use her service. While contrary to anything else I’d read previously (for example, decluttering one room at a time, sorting your ‘stuff’ seasonally etc.,) I found her logic refreshing. And it made sense to me. While she doesn’t actually say as much in her book, her method seems based on the premise that everything has energy. Her test for whether you should keep anything is, ‘Does it spark joy?’ If it doesn’t – it goes out! Simple as that!

First stop: clothing

Everything I owned in the way of clothes and shoes was gathered up on to my bed and the floor beneath. Then I took each piece in my hand and asked myself, “Does this spark joy.” Surprisingly, two big black sackfuls of clothes and shoes no longer sparked joy. I thanked them for their service and sent them to the local OpShop for others to enjoy.

Without going into all the details, over the next few weeks I sold some things on TradeMe and the local Facebook GarageSale site. I divested myself of three enormous bags of training and development material, some going back to when I first started in business (22 years ago). I either gave it to a good new home or kicked it into touch, ready for the fire of all fires! I gave some things away to people I knew would enjoy them.

Anything I was unsure about was left and decided upon a few days later

I went through ALL my photo albums. Yes, REAL paper photos – not the digital variety! Plus loads of loose photos that didn’t have an album to belong to. Everything I was keeping – that sparked joy – was folded using the Konmari method or was cleaned and tidied ready for my new abode.

The fact that I didn’t yet have an abode and that it was now only three weeks until I needed to be out, made no difference. If you listened to the podcast I posted a few weeks ago you will have heard me asking if anyone knew of somewhere to rent, to get in touch.

To say rental properties in Raglan are like Hen’s teeth is an understatement

Nevertheless, within 4 hours of that interview I’d found the perfect place to live. And no, no-one called me from the radio interview.

I moved in on 14 October and, while it’s been a busy couple of weeks, I now have everything that sparks joy in my new place.

At times the process of decluttering was a little sad

I relived memories associated with photos or objects. Sometimes I felt as if I was tidying up loose ends because the end of my life was imminent (it’s not – as far as I know). But overall it was an extremely freeing experience. While all my friends were alternatively intrigued and dismayed by what I was getting rid of, one lightened my move by sharing this on my Facebook page:

“I tried the Japanese method of decluttering where you hold every object you own and if it doesn’t bring you joy, you throw it away. So far I have thrown out vegetables, my bra, the electric bill, the scale, a mirror and my treadmill!”

In the shedding of things that I thought I ‘should’ keep and things that no longer spark joy, I’ve gained a new sense of freedom. My mind isn’t occupied trying to find things because I know where everything is. I feel more focused. And now that I’m settled in, I’m ready once more to dedicate myself to work, rather than being distracted by the upheaval all around me.

In hindsight (wonderful invention!), the shift has been extremely beneficial. I have a lovely place to live with these views. Sorry about the patch up job – I’m sure you get the idea!

Raglan view

And last night I put my car in the garage for the first time…